The Hazards of a
Photo Society Photographer...

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

Reality Check

  • Imprisoned

    3
  • Random Assault

    6
  • Robbed

    13
  • Hypothermia

    9
  • Threatened / Detained / Abducted

    21
  • Flesh Eating Parasites

    1
  • Groped

    9
  • Paraglider Crash

    21
  • Blinded by Wasps

    1
  • Giardia

    8
  • Held at Knifepoint

    1
  • Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

    2
  • Chased by Wild Elephant

    3
  • Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

    2
  • Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

    1
  • Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

    29
  • Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

    1
  • Spitting Cobra Attacks

    1
  • Broken Bones

    4
  • Tear Gassed

    4
  • Lost on Arctic Ice

    1
  • Broken Nose

    2
  • Wound Infection

    30
  • Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

    3
  • Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

    1
  • Severe Insect Problems

    12
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

    1
  • Broken Tail Bone

    1
  • Scaffolding Collapse

    1
  • Fall Into Crevasse

    2
  • Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

    1
  • Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

    1
  • Arrest or House Arrest

    33
  • Run Checkpoint

    13
  • Various Parasites

    16
  • Acid Dripping Caves

    1
  • Penis Fish

    1
  • Beaten

    3
  • Robbed

    5
  • Severe Diarrhea

    90
  • Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

    1
  • Extreme Toxins

    3
  • Held at Gunpoint

    2
  • Lost at Sea

    1
  • Dengue Fever

    1
  • Car or Bus Crash

    7
  • Plane or Helicopter Crash

    5
  • Groped

    2
  • Falls

    12
  • Dislocations

    7
  • Meningitis

    1
  • Viper in Camera Bag

    1
  • Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

    1
  • Stoned by Religious Group

    2
  • Diagnosed PTSD

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

    1
  • Burns

    4
  • Severe Dehydration

    19
  • Broken Ribs

    6
  • Punched in Face

    1
  • Venomous Bites

    9
  • Rope Burn

    10
  • Hunted with Bows and Arrows

    1
  • Temporary Blindness

    2
  • Buried in Avalanche

    2
  • Strongyloide Invasion

    1
  • Teargassed

    2
  • Chased by Crocodile

    1
  • Stabbed

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

    1
  • Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

    1
  • Lost in Andes

    2
  • Malaria

    5
  • Assorted Animal Attacks

    8
  • Amoebic Dysentery

    20